tv Your Business MSNBC March 8, 2015 4:30am-5:01am PDT
what this photographer did to get her employees as excited about her business as she is. and what the owner of a fish tank business had to do to get customers to trust his staff, as much as they trust him with their fish. their stories coming up next on "your business." small businesses are revitalizing the economy. and american express open is here to help. that's why we are proud to present "your business" on msnbc.
hi there, everyone, i'm j.j. ramberg and welcome to "your business." where we give you tips and advice that helps your small business grow. the real estate company named after barbara corcoran and the children's party company named after the founder dan the man, these two are examples of companies that started their brands off on the charisma and skills of one person. but, when your customers love your company because they love you, what happens as you grow and one person can no longer handle all the demands? well, this is exactly the issue that faced one phoenix based wedding photographer. she had to figure out a way to not only hire people who cared about her company as much as she did, but also get her customers to trust them as much as they trusted her.
when christine and santino flores started planning their dream wedding they knew the one thing they couldn't compromise on was hiring the perfect person to capture the moment. >> we allotted probably a majority of our budget besides the ceremony fee on our photos and we really wanted to make sure that it was the style that we wanted, that's something classic. >> they came across phoenix based melissa jill photography. she began her business in 2003 as a solo entrepreneur. >> i never intrended when i started my business to branch out. i really just thought i was going to be shooting my own wedding the rest of my life just a small boutique business. >> but soon with growing demand came a growing need to think bigger. >> i was starting to get inquiries that were saying you know, we love your work but we just can't afford you. do you have anybody else that
you would recommend who is a similar style but just a little lower price? and i was happy to refer those out to some of my photographer friends in the area and i realized maybe i should take advantage of these leads that i've been generating with my brand, and bring on some other photographers to shoot for my company. at lower price points. >> learning to trust others to carry on your brand isn't easy, though. especially when it incorporates your personal name. >> when i send an associate photographer out to shoot a wedding for my business they're on their own and they have my business in their hands. and it's not their business. so it's not as much of a personal investment as it is for me when i'm shooting a wedding. and so trusting somebody with that is scary. >> so melissa found a formula to find the right people to bring on. first, the prospective customers are drawn to her company because of her portfolio, she hires photographers who don't stray too far from her own personal
aesthetics. >> when i bring an associate photographer on, obviously i want them to be representative of my brand and so i want to make sure our shooting styles are similar enough. >> having them shadow her before doing weddings on their own also ensures their approaches match. >> having them come along and shoot with me is really helpful, because they see me working. they see what types of shots i get. and then as i go through their photos i'm able to give them feedback. >> another important factor is making sure the job is a good fit for all parties. for full-time mom mary jordan working as an associate photographer is the best of both worlds. >> i get to do all the fun stuff, all the nitty-gritty. i don't have to do all the business side. i don't really care for the business side of it. i just get to go be creative and take beautiful pictures of beautiful people and beautiful weddings. >> and for melissa, taking on photographers who have zero interest in owning their own photography business is practical and cost effective. >> as a business owner i want to be bringing to the a team of people who want to invest in my
business for the long-term. i'm spending time coaching them training them, and i don't want to invest that in to something that ultimately that person wants to go start their own business. >> the key to their success is making sure the client knows exactly what they're getting. >> put your hand in your pocket. >> the company's website highlights not only melissa's work but also that of her associate photographers. >> there's a portfolio for each of them so they can click through and see some actual weddings that they've photographed. so i think having all of those things right there online really helps people to see that they can trust, you know the brand, and they can trust the photographers that are a part of that. >> we looked at rachel's portfolio and we really liked it, and upon meeting her, really -- she really connected with us. and so we seemed confident that she would get what we want on our wedding day. >> the final ten is probably the most important to make sure that clients get a product that's befitting of the melissa jill brand. post-production.
one person handles all the editing of the raw images. >> even though a number of different photographers are photographing different events. we want to make sure all of our work is very cohesive looking. and style is very cohesive and true to the melissa jill brand. >> by finding ways to hire employees while keeping checks and balances in place to ensure her brand is never compromised, melissa jill has found a way to extend her business's reach. >> i guess it really kind of blew me away when they actually came out. so it's really fit everything that we were looking for, stylewise, and the look but the most important thing is they really captured us. >> things that melissa dealt with as she grew her business is pretty common. the more personal your company is the more you have to think about this as you expand. we met the owner of a fish tank business who faced the same dilemma. his clients only wanted him to take care of their fish.
they rusted him and him only. that's why he had to get them to feel as safe being taken care of by his employees when the company grew too big for him to go out on every service call. >> i cot have put any type of fish tank in my house but i want it to be a piece of art. >> justin muir is the founder and ceo of city aquarium in brooklyn, new york. he's been designed one of a kind custom aquariums for the rich and famous since 1998. >> i met with ben affleck, the young harry morton. a lot of hedge funders and billionaires, as well. >> it's justin's original designs that keep city aquariums in high demand. but creating a work of art comes at a price. each project requires his personal touch. so justin can only take on a limited number of clients. >> most of my clients really need a lot of attention. we're not a large company.
we're very small boutique company. so i take on only the number of clients that i'm able to deal with on any given moment. >> with a hefty price tag and high profile clientele, the expectations are high. >> whether you're dealing with somebody that's building an aquarium there's a level of trust that has to be there, that -- and that you're going to get serviced and you're going to get what you paid for. >> what could mean when nemo feels sick justin's the one on the end of a late-night 911 call. >> fish get sick at any time during the day. it could be 4:00 in the morning. it could be 7:00 a.m. it could be on the weekends. i have to make myself available to respond to e-mails within 30 seconds. >> like many small business owners justin started out as a jack of all trades. he soon realized that in order to grow his business he needed to hire help, and delegate some of his work. so, his first hires were qualified people who could help maintain the aquariums. but finding quality workers who justin can trust to keep up the
integrity of his brand isn't easy. >> i've gone through ten years of learning how to interview people, and learning to find what works and what doesn't work, or a service individual. >> and even if justin isn't doing the servicing himself, he still needs to make sure the work done is at the level his clients have come to expect from city aquarium. >> it's always been a struggle for me to let somebody else clean my clients' fish tanks. just because i can always do it better. so i always request e-mails and photos of before and after each cleaning. so i'm still very much hands on even though i'm not there servicing the aquariums myself >> bringing new people in to the equation also meant the clients had to get used to the idea that not all questions required justin's personal attention. but there are still certain calls that justin always handles himself. >> it's almost like being an aquatic vet. i am a biologist. a lot of my staff are very very good. but there are some questions they just can't answer.
that's where i step in in those moments. >> but at the core justin knows that the connection with his clients is one that he's not willing to sacrifice for the sake of growth. >> i think that every aquarium is a relationship. it's a lifelong relationship. so it's very important that i establish really close relationships with my clients. >> for most of those entrepreneurs the extension of the business came as a result of demand. now if you are looking to grow your business there are a lot of options available. here now are five routes to consider for market expansion courtesy of wfs magazine. choose a new geographic location. it could be less expensive, and it could open your business up to customers in a different area. two, set your sights on fresh market segments examine your existing clients and look at ways to introduce your products and services to new customers with a similar profile. three, create a franchise business model.
if your company can be replicated in a variety of settings, this is a way to extend your reach. four diversify. apply your business strength and specialties to a complementary venture which could create opportunities for fresh growth. and five, grow through acquisition. buying a successful company could be a perfect way to discover a new customer base acquire new technologies, and get the jump on the competition. if you don't have an entire pr team working for you, which i am guessing most of you don't, getting the word out about your business can seem like a very daunting task. so this website of the week hopes to make it all a little bit easier to manage. pitchengine.com is a content creation tool for publishing visual marketing messages to the web and mobile so instead of creating a traditional press release the site helps you design an announcement that will catch the eye of that target journalist or customer as well. you can upload photos and videos and you can share
through all of your social media platforms after you're done. jane warwund's first venture was opening a professional skin care school in 1983. but soon she noticed what she felt was a gaping hole in the wutty industry. she couldn't find any products that were focused on skin health, rather than on trendy ingredients and scenes. so in 1986 she created dermalogica and started using those same products in her classes. now, dermalogica has a big following of both consumers and skin care professionals around the world. we sat down with jane at her company headquarters in los angeles, where she told us her tips for entrepreneurial success in this learning from the pros. >> if you could spot the greatest pain in a industry you just spotted the greatest opportunity. the industry really in 1983 it wasn't even present.
there was no such thing as a day spa. people were not using skin care products, there were no american-based professional skin care products. i realized the opportunity was going to lie in the industry. we started our training center the international dermal institute three heres before dermalogica. and after i was training my students who were all working in the industry, they said hey, you know, how about a product? finish detail it out, visualize it strongly. so that you can describe a product that's never been made to somebody who needs to be on board in packaging, in design in graphics in making the formula. you need to be able to fully articulate your dream. we were approached by several international distributors who wanted to distribute the product in that country. so everything should be changed. and we were naive and we were eager, and we thought well they must know the best way to launch
it there, so we should listen to them. and the product was not successful. and after nine months we did a pivot point and we just turned and said this is not us. we need to regroup, we need to launch in exactly the same way. we launched in the way we launched in the states with education, with classes, same name, same packaging. and the product was a success. we learned after that point dermalogica goes out the gate as dermalogica. and we say to any new distributor. we fwhoe that you know your country very well but we know dermalogica very well. we don't change our personality. this is who we are. this is how we're going to do it. i hope that as human beings we all believe we want to give back in some capacity. here's the thing, i think it's a very dated model to think that the social impact of your business is somehow some benevolent thing that you do. it needs to be embedded in your brand. what is it that made your brand
successful? so for dermalogica what made us successful were women entrepreneurs working in the industry. we wanted to directly impact that, and expand it. so our fight initiative speaks to all those points that are embedded in our company, they're part of our dna, and we are committed to getting women to grow or start their own business in any industry. >> stay with us for a lot more from the world of entrepreneurism. we'll answer your business question about how to get customers who left you to come back. and, mixing wine with vodka? today's elevator pitcher hopes to lift our panel's spirits with her brand new cocktail mix. american express for travel and entertainment worldwide. just show them this - the american express card.
don't leave home without it! and someday, i may even use it on the moon. it's a marvelous thing! oh! haha! so you can replace plane tickets, traveler's cheques, a lost card. really? that worked? american express' timeless safety and security are now available on apple pay. the next evolution of membership is here. this week your biz selfie comes from steve's jams and jellies in wichita, kansas. so now it is time for you to send us your selfie. get out your phone, nab a shoot and send it in to your firstname.lastname@example.org or you can tweet it to us@msnbc your biz. do not forget to tell us your name and where you are, and use use #yourbizselfie.
we cannot wait to see them. today's elevator pitcher started noticing somewhat of a trend. people who like to drink wine at home would order something a little bit harder when they were out at a bar or a club. so she came up with an idea for them. let's see if the panel will toast her product. denise blasevick is the ceo, and adam rich is the editor in chief of the thrill list media group. >> i'm stephenie harris founder of maven cocktail. i have 18 years in the wine industry, and i realized that people don't have a great experience when they're at the bar ordering one by the glass. while cocktails are ordered by brand name wine drinkers must settle for what's on hand often poor quality. maven is a super premium wine infused vodka cocktail sold in a single serve glass bottle. it takes just like a great glass of wine with the -- and very consistent with the buzz of a cocktail.
it's low calorie. it's all natural and only 13.5% alcohol. in three years we expect sales to exceed $40 million as we innovate the ready-to-drink market that today is worth more than $1.3 billion. i raised -- i'm sorry i raised $850,000 to bring maven to market and i've had a tremendous response. i'm sold in new york by empire merchants with plans to expand three more states this spring. we need $500,000 to increase inventory, and marketing. and three to five years we plan to sell to spirits giant, and investors can expect a return of 25 times. please check out our website and follow us on facebook and instagram. >> thank you so much stephenie. all right i'm giving this to you two. >> okay. >> why don't i -- >> i will take the alcohol, you take the pens. there you go. i need two numbers from you. two numbers. one is the product. from one to ten. you guys got to taste this. we did a little sneak peek
before. and second one to ten how was the pitch? got it? >> got it. >> put them both down? >> thank you. >> okay adam. the product, one to ten. okay hold on product. >> seven. >> okay. >> for me it actually, i like the fact that it tasted much like wine but it tastes so much like wine that i think i'd rather just be drinking wine. it's a little bit sweeter than chardonnay but i don't think it tastes as much like a vodka cocktail. it's sort of neither fish nor fowl i suppose. >> and denise product. >> product i gave you an eight. i think it is very innovateive and i also was surprised how much it tastes like a good glass of wine. i did not expect that. i haven't heard of anyone doing this before. so that's pretty neat. i think that the potential area that's going to be difficult is people not expecting to drink wine when they're out there, and if there isn't a lot of marketing to get the word out there, that people might not be inclined to it. >> i'm just going to chime in on
the product, too. i think it's beautifully pagaged. i like your logo and i like how this looks. the pitch, denise you've already revealed the eight. >> i think it was a strong pitch and start with you, since you already revealed the eight. >> spirits giant. i thought what is going to stop someone from saying it's a great idea. it seems like a smart end gachlt i would just say that really figuring out how you're going to own this and be autonomous of creating this other than just creating this for someone else to take it over. >> seven because marketing is probably going to be the most important thing for a product like this. especially given how crowded every segment of the alcohol industry is. and i would have wanted more specificity around what the marketing plan looked like. ultimately between the pricing of this stuff, what actually goes into it it's about the image it's independent to
connote. >> hope to see this everywhere when we're out pretty soon. >> thank you for stopping by and pitching. you guys stick around. i need you for more advice later on in the show. >> sure. if you want feedback from our elevator pitch panel on your idea send us an e-mail. yourbusiness @msnbc.com. please include a short summary of what your company does how much money you're trying to raise and what you intend to do with that money. we look forward to reading those pitches and seeing some of you on the show. a recent analysis by "the wall street journal" shows an alarming trend. number of people 30 and under who own private businesses has reached a 24-year low. cnbc's kate rogers tells us the reason is overwhelming student debt. >> reporter: when it comes to student debt and millenial
entrepreneurship entrepreneurship, the rate fell from 26% in 2003 to 23% a decade later. that means they opened approximately 19,000 fewer businesses a month, according to the kaufman foundation nonprofit that researches entrepreneurship. second, the percentage of those under 30 without outstanding student debt fell. sounds like a good thing but there's a catch. those with debt have a lot more of it. about $28,000 worth on average. some leading researchers are connecting those dots and saying that may be the reason fewer young people are taking the leap to becoming their own bosses. even they're not convinced. take zachary. he was $12,000 in the hole two years ago when he started his company newlio. market research startup gauges
customer satisfaction and his debt motivates him. >> we have to figure out a way to make money so we can draw income from a very early stage company and be able to pay some of the responsibilities, take care of some of the responsibility that is i had and certainly other people that have joined us have. >> reporter: and that motivation has paid off for schwitzky. >> we're on track for being profitable about six months from now, midway through the year. >> reporter: there is an upside to the downturn scene for entrepreneurs in recent years. entrepreneurship peaks for those in their late 30s and early 40s when higher education debt also diminishes. now on the cusp of massive entry in that age bracket and they note this will be the largest group at these ages ever in american history, giving hope that more new businesses will be created over the next few years. i'm kate rogers.
it is time now to answer some of your business questions. adam and denise are back with us. the first one comes from nick. he writes "i own a dry cleaners. customers come for a few months and disappear again. we don't do any advertising at all. how do i attract new customers and hold on to them? should i have a special every month? there is an answer to this that i think you have. >> there is an answer. i would like to know if they are asking people when they come back after a long gap why it's been so long in capturing that datea. i use them as an extended closet. i take all my winter suits at the end of the winter and pick them up again when fall comes around. it's not that they're going somewhere else necessarily. also, think of services that other dry cleaners aren't offering so you're not just a commodity. maybe it is a way to text people when they're clothing is done and you have a way to engage with them and loyalty. maybe something very simple. every $100 they spend with you
they get some sort of branded lint brush or something to keep them coming back. >> go call those customers and ask them right? >> there's that. there might be an opportunity for a gut check. it's such a utility. it's a kind of thing that if your needs are being met as a consumer you're probably not going to spend enough time to shop around to find something else. >> yep. >> given that you're going to wear clothes at a certain rate and generate dry cleaning at a certain rate you're probably not doing some fundamental element of your business right. once you have a serviceable dry cleaning thing there's getting it done and there's not getting it done. if you fall into getting it done we use the dry cleaner we've used since we moved to the neighborhood we're in and they get it done. >> go call some of those customers who have left you and ask. find out why they're not coming back. >> doesn't hurt. >> and add some tell a friend.
>> if you do a promotion and you're not set up to retain you're just going to take the loss on that initial transaction and not monotize the next ones. what it's like to run a business by yourself. >> i'm a sole proprietor. it's hard to do it all. i'm trying to do the things that i do well or do best and delegate the rest. but sometimes it's hard to even prioritize. so i guess i would love to have a system that would organize my life. who wouldn't? >> i would like that. >> it's a great question right? if you're going to hire contractors you need to make sure you have enough to do and organized enough to give them things to do. >> especially early you have to be really organized to be able to offload and delegate.
and, you know i think that ultimately can be one of those things that if you're just barely keeping your head above water, taking the time to invest in organization and process so that you can then entrust that to somebody else is something you don't have time for. >> but you have to make it. >> yeah. >> or else you can't grow. >> that then diagram with the sweet spot that says what do i do great, what do i love doing and what's the most important thing for the company is a very hard thing to find. i highly recommendation yo global 10,000 different entrepreneurs and people come together and share experiences. someone that has had that exact issue can share how they solved it, maybe even in the same industry and personally that's been something that's been beneficial. >> would you write a list here of all the things i need to do for a week circle the ones that you could delegate and figure out how to hire someone like this? >> it might be more helpful, rather than putting together a list like that -- an
aspirational thing, that doesn't jive with how your time is spent. look at last week. how did that break up? log your hours and think about how your time was spent. then what are the things that you got through? maybe you did them effectively but you spent twice as long doing it because it doesn't fit well in denise's then diagram. those are the things to offload. >> someone said to me if you work every day like you're going on vacation tomorrow you'll know what you can delegate. and that's really good. >> that's true. that's great. sometimes if you reframe something, it suddenly makes everything very clear. >> two of my favorites. i love getting to talk to you guys. >> thank you. >> really appreciate it. if any of you out there has a question for our experts we answer them every week on the show. send us one in an e-mail. yourbusiness @msnbc.com. to learn more about today's show just click on our website.
it is openforum.com/yourbusiness. once you get there you'll find all of today's segments plus web exclusive content with a lot more information to help your business grow. you can also follow us on twitter @msnbc your biz and facebook and instagram as well. when your business is running on empty, find out how this seattle start-up answer that is question. till then i'm j.j. ramberg. remember, we make your business our business. american express for travel and entertainment worldwide. just show them this - the american express card. don't leave home without it! and someday, i may even use it on the moon. it's a marvelous thing! oh! haha! so you can replace plane tickets, traveler's cheques, a lost card. really? that worked?
american express' timeless safety and security are now available on apple pay. the next evolution of membership is here. retracing the steps of history. good morning to you. thanks for getting up with us on this sunday. a landmark moment in the civil rights moment. another full day of events planned for today in selma, alabama. one-year anniversary no one was have expecting to have malaysia flight